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"Turkish Nights", in Bodrum always showcases Folkloric dances and the Belly Dance.

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Artemisia I – Warrior Queen of Halicarnassus

Artemisia I, brilliant military strategist and commander, acted as adviser to Xerxes I on his campaigns in the Persian Wars.


She was born in the late 6th century BC, purportedly in Halicarnassus, Asia Minor modern Bodrum, Turkey and known as The First Woman Admiral.


Most of the information we have on Artemisia I of Halicarnassus has come from the pages of Herodotus, the early historian, himself a son of Halicarnassus. He wrote of Persian Wars in his Historiai Herodotou (c. 424 BC, The History, 1709).


Halicarnassus, at the time, was one a city-state, governed by the Persian Empire though culturally Greek. In the 8th century BC, many Greek city-states sent out colonies to Asia Minor. Eventually the majority of these colonies were conquered and incorporated into the Persian Empire. Herodotus tells us that Artemisia, daughter of the King of Halicarnassus, Lygdamis, and sister to Pigres, was the child of a Cretan mother. She assumed the throne upon the death of her husband, whose name is unknown.


Herodotus does not give us her date of birth however he does tell us that Artemisia was the mother to a grown son at the time of the Battle of Salamis and, as such, was likely in her mid-thirties during the Persian Wars. In 521 BC, Darius seized the Persian throne, ruling until 486. Darius’ reign was characterized by the many changes he made, guiding the Persian Empire towards his eventual goal of world domination. He made the decision to focus the government of the Persian Empire in a new the capital at Persepolis, and was the mastermind of an administrative and financial infrastructure stable enough to last for two centuries. He ordered built a canal which would link the Nile to Red Sea, thus improving trade and commerce. He was the first Persian king to mint his own coins, and went on to expand his borders to the Indus River and Gandhara in the west, conquering Thrace.


Artemisia is acknowledged for her participation the naval Battle of Salamis. In 499 BC, Athens led the support of several city-states inhabiting the Greek mainland and their Ionian counterparts Greek city-states in revolt against Darius. Upon quelling the rebellion, in 490 BC Darius retaliated by invading mainland Greece, only to find a coalition of Greek city-states in ready state for war. The Battle of Plataea proved disastrous to Darius, as he was sorely defeated. Ten years later, Darius' son Xerxes I, now the King of Persia, moved to invade Greece yet again. Artemisia the ruler of Halicarnassus, personally headed five ships in Xerxes' navy.


Prior to the initial attack, Xerxes consulted his chief admirals for advice on whether he should attack Salamis. To a man they urged him to attack, with the sole exception of Artemisia. After reminding her audience that she had fought bravely at Euboea, Artemisia advised Xerxes to not attack the Greeks by sea.


In her discourse to the advising council and Xerxes himself, Artemisia deftly stroked the infamous ego of the Persian leader with a series of questions which established the information she would need to complete her own argument (Herodotus 8.68).


Thus, Artemisia not only gave her recommended course of action, but the reasoning behind it as well. Though Artemisia’ allies feared that Xerxes would be angry with her, they were surprised to discover that her counsel had in fact pleased him. Xerxes, however, failed to heed the information and warning that Artemisia had provided, choosing instead to listen to the majority of his advisers, guiding his own forces in an attack on Salamis.


Artemisia distinguished herself at the Battle of Salamis, sinking what Xerxes believed to be an enemy vessel. In actuality, Artemisia, finding herself surrounded by Athenian ships, hatched a clever and cold-blooded ruse in order to ensure the survival of her crew. She deliberately rammed the ship of Damasithymus, king of the Calyndians, an ally of Persia. The Calyndian ship was lost with all hands, convincing the pursuing Athenians that she was an ally of their fleet.


Apparently, Aminias of Pallene, the general who pursued Artemisia’s ship, would not have stopped his pursuit had he known that Artemisia herself was on that ship. The Athenians were offended with her presence in the war against them, offered an incentive of ten thousand drachmas for her arrest. As claimed by Plutarch, on the pages of his biography of Themistocles, Artemisia added to her esteem with Xerxes when Ariamenes, his brother and one of his admirals, was killed in the battle. Artemisia, who recognized the body, delivered it personally Xerxes. The Persian king, having only seen that Artemisia sunk a ship while surrounded by Athenians, was also duped by her daring move and later praised her for her bravery.


After the disastrous defeat of the Persians at Salamis, Xerxes again called upon his commanders to advise him. This time, however, he singled out Artemisia for consultation because she alone had given him accurate information and sage advice in her previous counsel. Xerxes presented Artemisia with two possible courses of action, asking her which she would recommend. Xerxes would either guide his troops in an attack on the Peloponnese himself or personally withdraw from Greece, leaving his general, Mardonius, in charge (Herodotus 8.102).


Once again Artemisia had given the reasoning behind her advice, which appeared to Xerxes to be sound. Upon deciding to take Artemisia's advice, Xerxes further requested that she accompany his illegitimate children to Ephesus. Though this is the last we find of Artemisia in the accounts of Herodotus, she does appear in other ancient sources.


Thessalus, son of Hippocrates, described Artemisia in a speech, painting her as a cowardly pirate. Where he obtained his information is unknown but in his speech, Artemisia leads a fleet of ships to the Isle of Cos to hunt down and slaughter the Coans, but the gods intervene. After Artemisia's ships are destroyed by lightning and she experiences visions of great heroes, she flees Cos, her objective unfulfilled. According to Polyaenus, Artemisia carried two different standards on her vessels, and would fly the Persian standard while chasing Greeks, but would fly a Greek standard when she was being pursued.


The only account we have of Artemisia’s death is itself rather dubious. According to the story, Artemisia fell in love with a man, but he rejects her. Because of this she throws herself off a cliff. It seems difficult to believe that a woman of such formidable character, a ruler of great renown in her own right and the leader of soldiers into battle, would commit such a questionable act. Exploring early literature, we find it replete with myths of women who commit suicide as a result of an unrequited love. It seems more likely that the author adapted Artemisia’s story to fit the literary traditions of the time. It is known that her grandson, named Lygdamis after her father, ruled Halicarnassus after her, and was indeed the very reason that Herodotus had to flee the city, visiting the island of Samos before finally settling in Athens.


Erdal Ersoy

Bodrum, Turkey 8th of July 2009



 

 

Some of the villages in the Bodrum Peninsula

Bodrum is an exceptionally fantastic place to visit. Ancient city of HalikarnassosBodrumBodrum is an exceptionally fantastic place in the Peninsula to visit.The Ancient city of Halikarnassos.
Bardakci is a superb quarter to make a visit.BardakciBardakci is a superb quarter to make a visit. Located in the Bodrum Peninsula, it is well known by clean water fountains
Gumbet is a supremely beutifull location to be.GumbetGumbet is a beautiful location to be. Whether it is something with the kids, shopping or nightlife, it is here.


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Bitez is a fantastical footing to explore.BitezBitez is a fantastical footing to explore. If you are looking for a comforting day by the sea you should not miss it..
Ortakent - Yahsi is a glorious ubiety to call upon.Ortakent - YahsiOrtakent - Yahsi is a glorious ubiety to call upon. It is the action centre presenting plenty of water sports.
Turgutreis is a slashing post to visit.TurgutreisThis maritime hamlet is called to honor a inborn son, the magisterial Osmanli Admiral Turgut Reis.


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